Rare video captures entire wolf pack in remote part of Minnesota national park

·2 min read
Voyageurs Wolf Project/Video Screengrab

Seven wolves were recorded on a video as they traveled through a snowy national park in Minnesota.

“Rarely do we get the entire pack in a one frame,” the Voyageurs Wolf Project said when sharing the “stunning” video on Facebook.

The organization, which studies wolves and their prey in and around Voyageurs National Park in the summer, says it found the video while checking trail camera on Monday, Jan. 17. The video of the wolf pack was recorded in the fall as the animals roamed the remote wilderness.

The wolves make up the Cranberry Bay Pack, which only consisted of four wolves last winter, according to the project. The wolves had four wolf pups in the spring, though Voyageurs Wolf Project is unsure if all four survived into the fall when the video was captured.

“Three of wolves in the video definitely look like pups and maybe a 4th but hard to say,” the organization said.

The lighter gray wolf, ear tagged as V083, is the pack’s breeding male, and the darker colored ear-tagged wolf is V084, according to the project. She is the breeding female.

V083 and V084 had been collared from 2019 until this fall, when their collars fell off.

Wolves in Voyageurs National Park

The Gray Wolf population in Voyageurs National Park typically varies between 30 to 50 wolves divided into 6 to 9 packs, according to park officials. The population “has stayed relatively constant since the late 1990s.”

“With over 120,000 acres of land, Voyageurs offers abundant forest habitat for the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus). Also called the Timber Wolf, this animal is the dominant predator in Voyageurs and primarily feeds on deer, moose, and beaver,” the park says. “During the winter, wolves live in family packs with approximately four to eight members, often working together to hunt large game.”

Park researchers, like Voyageurs Wolf Project, are studying wolves in the summer when they are more likely to hunt by themselves.

“The Voyageurs Wolf Project is a University of Minnesota research project that was started to address one of the biggest knowledge gaps in wolf ecology — what do wolves do during the summer?” it says. “Our goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the summer ecology of wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem in northern Minnesota. Specifically, we want to understand the predation behavior and reproductive ecology (e.g., number of pups born, where wolves have dens, etc) of wolves during the summer.”

Visitors of the park are most likely to see wolves in the winter when they hunt and travel along the big lakes’ shorelines, park officials say, though “wolves are elusive survivors, and almost always keep away from humans.”

If you see a wolf, officials say you should slowly back away, remain quiet and give it space.

Voyageurs National Park is near the Canadian border in northern Minnesota.

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